Jean Rochefort (1930-2017) was an acclaimed French actor who has been a key figure in French cinema since the 1950s, often appearing with the likes of Jean Paul-Belmondo and Gérard Depardieu. Rochefort has been heard in the French dubs of the Creature Shop-effects films Dr. Dolittle (as Jake the tiger) and Pride (as Eddie).
Rochefort studied at the Paris Conservatoire and began his career on stage, migrating to bit parts in film in the 1950s. He gained notice with principal co-starring roles in Cartouche (1962) and Angelique (1964), developing a persona as an elegant, hangdog figure in scores of French films in the following decades. In 1972, he gained increased exposure abroad as the comedically treacherous colonel in the spy farce The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, which became an international hit, and starred in surrealist director Luis Buñuel's Le Fantôme de la liberté (1974). A brief flirtation with US-European co-productions followed, with cameo roles in Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?' (as one of the title chefs, opposite Robert Morley) and French Postcards. The prolific Rochefort slowed down slightly in the 1980s, a period highlighted by Frankenstein 90, playing an unusually genial Victor Frankenstein in an unorthodox, light-hearted take on the story.
In the 1990s, Rochefort starred in The Hairdresser's Husband (1990) and the Academy Award-nominated period comedy Ridicule (1996). He was part of the international all-star cast in Robert Altman's primarily English-language film Ready to Wear (alongside Lauren Bacall and Tim Robbins, among others) and appeared in French television miniseries of The Count of Monte Cristo (1998) and Rembrandt (1999). His tall, lean frame, aquiline nose, and dignified bearing impressed Terry Gilliam, who cast the actor as Don Quixote in his planned film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, to co-star Johnny Depp and Miranda Richardson. The production was plagued with problems, and Rochefort himself was felled by injury and illness, dooming the film, but forming the basis of the 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha. Later, Rochefort starred as an elderly teacher in the 2002 character study L' Homme du train (The Man on the Train), appeared in Hallmark's 2004 Frankenstein mini-series, and cameoed as a matire'd in Mr. Bean's Holiday (2007).